When telling their company’s story, brands are often tempted to simply share their chronology from the beginning to the present moment. However, a straightforward chain of events like this won't do much to engage future customers.
Instead, you need to commit to storytelling. This doesn't mean fiction—quite the opposite. When creating a brand story, integrity and authenticity need to be a priority. Every company has a story worth telling, so go beyond your company's history to tell an authentic and compelling narrative that elicits emotion from readers.
Wondering how to write a brand story? Use these five best practices as a guide to craft a unique company story that will set your brand up for success.
1. Get Personal
If your company story has more to do with the "what" rather than the "why," it's time to reassess. Any good brand story template starts with an in-depth understanding of the values, purpose, vision, and goals of an organization or business. What are the motivations behind the work?
By sharing the aspiration and mission of your team, you're encouraging current and future customers to relate on a more personal level to the work you are doing. Put a face to the people behind the product or service.
That brand persona should be attractive to your target audience, so it's also important that you truly understand your customers too. Remember, brands that foster relationships create loyal customers.
One example of a brand story that excels at the personal touch is The Leather Satchel Co.
As the oldest satchel maker in the United Kingdom, the company focuses its story on the family that has always owned it and the skilled craftspeople who stand behind their work.
2. Be Clear and Concise
When discussing your products or services as you are building your brand story, make every word count. Don't ramble! Instead, highlight what makes your brand first, best, or different. What are the elements of your business that set it apart from the competition?
Think about how those special differences came to be. Often, it starts with a challenge or a problem. Set up the problem, and then share how your solution helps. Focus on why your team or leadership cares about solving this problem, but cut out anything that feels extraneous. The entire story behind the brand should be worth the time to read.
A great brand story example that is concise yet filled with details is the lifestyle blog How-To Home.
The writer, Mary Beth Sharkey, shares colorful, engaging information about herself that draws in the reader. She keeps details short, sweet, and to the point, then ends with a direct call to action: "I hope you join me as I do what I can, taking one day at a time, sharing my creations and thoughts."
3. Be Honest
It may be tempting to embellish details about your brand, but staying honest is key. As you build brand awareness, you want to remain authentic.
Why is honesty important when developing your brand story? Well, vulnerability is an important part of being human, and the more you relate to customers as individuals, the more likely you are to gain their trust. Don't be afraid to talk about rocky parts of the path to your success and your dreams for the future too.
If you're not honest, it can backfire. For example, after PepsiCo bought Naked Juice, it had to adjust its story. The brand narrative template always focused on natural ingredients, but in 2016, the company was forced to change its labeling when a class-action lawsuit revealed it had added genetically altered soy.
Losing trust is easy. Gaining it back isn't.
4. Connect Your Story to Your Values
The best brand story is one that demonstrates the underlying principles upon which the company was built.
Think less about the dates of milestones and more about the experiences that help shape the work your team does. If a potential customer connects with your brand's values, they'll want to work with you—even if you're providing the same service as another business.
Ultimately, a brand story is an opportunity to share the higher purpose for your work. You should believe in your brand and recognize the innovative nature of your company. The stronger your understanding of the passion behind the brand, the easier it will be to tap into the emotions of your target audience.
One company story example that's built on brand ethics is the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's. They may be known for using unique ingredients to make their products and giving their desserts fun names like "Cherry Garcia" and "Chunky Monkey." However, many of their customers choose their pints less for their flavors and more for their values of equality and stewardship.
5. Connect to Your Audience
A common mistake when building a brand story is focusing so much on the brand itself that you forget who you want to engage.
Your story must be educational, entertaining, or inspirational to your specific target audience. You must speak their language. To accomplish this, you must have a clear understanding of who you want to reach. Just as your logo and tagline must connect with your current and potential customers, so should your brand story marketing.
Just look to SoulCycle for a sample brand story that really works for its audience.
They don't talk about how working out on their stationary bikes could help you lose weight. Instead, their story talks about changing lives, "unshakable bonds" created in classes, and the power of diversity.
They write, "We laugh, we cry, we grow—and we do it together, as a community." Potential customers know they can feel supported there, so they're more likely to check out a class.
The Bottom Line
Your company story should encourage your customers to connect with the people behind the product, and not just the product itself. By sharing your motivation and values, you're giving them an opportunity to share in your mission and create a relationship that is worth telling their friends about.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Suzanne Wentley.